Imatges de pÓgina
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OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.

Receive it from me.-I speak not yet of proof.
Look to your wife; observe her well with Cassio;
Wear your eye-thus, not jealous, nor secure.
I would not have your free and noble nature,
Out of self-bounty,' be abused; look to't.
I know our country disposition well;
In Venice they do let heaven see the pranks

They dare not show their husbands; their best con-
science

Oth.

Iago.

Is-not to leave undone, but keep unknown.

Oth. Dost thou say so?

Iago. She did deceive her father, marrying you;
And, when she seemed to shake, and fear your looks,
She loved them most.

And so she did.

Why, go to, then ;
She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
To seel her father's eyes up, close as oak,2.
He thought 'twas witchcraft.-But I am much to

of

[ACT III

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your pardon,

blame;
I humbly do beseech you
For too much loving you.

Oth.

I am bound to thee forever.
Iago. I see this hath a little dashed your spirits.
Oth. Not a jot, not a jot.

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Iago.

Trust me, I fear it has.
I hope you will consider, what is spoke
Comes from my love;-but I do see you are moved.
I am to pray you not to strain my speech

3

Το grosser issues, nor to larger reach,
Than to suspicion.

Oth. I will not.
Iago.
Should you do so, my lord,
My speech should fall into such vile success

4

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1 Self-bounty for inherent generosity.

2 An expression from falconry: to seel a hawk is to sew up his eyelids. Close as oak means as close as the grain of oak.

3 Issues for conclusions.

4 Success here means consequence or event. So in Sidney's Arcadia, p. 39, ed. 1613:-" Straight my heart misgave me some evil success."

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OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.

SC. III.]

As my thoughts aim not at.
friend.-

My lord, I see you are moved.

Oth.
No, not much moved;-
I do not think but Desdemona's honest.

Iago. Long live she so! and long live you to think so!
Oth. And yet, how nature, erring from itself,-

Iago. Ay, there's the point.-As,--to be bold with

you,
Not to affect many proposed matches,

1

Of her own clime, complexion, and degree;
Whereto, we see, in all things nature tends:
Foh! one may smell, in such, a will most rank,
Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural.
But pardon me; I do not, in position,
Distinctly speak of her: though I may fear,
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
May fall to match you with her country forms,
And (happily) repent.

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Oth.

Farewell, farewell.
If more thou dost perceive, let me know more;
Set on thy wife to observe. Leave me, lago.
Iago. My lord, I take my leave.

[Going.

Oth. Why did I marry?-This honest creature, doubtless,

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Cassio's my worthy

Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds.

Iago. My lord, I would I might entreat your honor
To scan this thing no further; leave it to time;
And though it be fit that Cassio have his place.
(For, sure, he fills it up with great ability,)
Yet, if you please to hold him off a while,
You shall by that perceive him and his means.
Note, if your lady strain his entertainment 3
With any strong or vehement importunity;
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
Let me be thought too busy in my fears,

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459

I Will for inclination or desire. A rank will is a lustful inclination. 2 "You shall discover whether he thinks his best means, his most powerful interest, is by the solicitation of your lady."

3 i. e. press hard his readmission to his pay and office. Entertainment was the military term for the admission of soldiers.

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460

OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.

(As worthy cause I have to fear-I am,)
And hold her free, I do beseech your honor.
Oth. Fear not my government.1
Iago. I once more take my leave.

4

5

Oth. This fellow's of exceeding honesty,
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirit 2
Of human dealings. If I do prove her haggard,3
Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind,
To prey at fortune. Haply, for I am black;
And have not those softs parts of conversation
That chamberers have; or, for I am declined
Into the vale of years;-yet that's not much;-
She's gone; I am abused; and my relief
Must be to loathe her. O, curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapor of a dungeon,
Than keep a corner in the thing I love,
For others' uses. Yet 'tis the plague of great ones,
Prerogatived are they less than the base;
'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death;

6

Even then this forked plague is fated to us,
When we do quicken. Desdemona comes.

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1 Do not distrust my ability to contain my passion.
2 Learned for experienced.

3 Haggard is wild, and therefore libertine. A haggard falcon was a wild hawk that had preyed for herself long before she was taken; sometimes also called a ramage falcon. Haggard was also a term of reproach, sometimes applied to a wanton.

7 i. e. when we begin to live.

4 Jesses are short straps of leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by which she is held on the fist.-"The falconers always let fly the hawk against the wind; if she flies with the wind behind her, she seldom returns. If, therefore, a hawk was for any reason to be dismissed, she was let down the wind, and from that time shifted for herself and preyed at fortune."

5 Men of intrigue.

6 One of sir John Harington's Epigrams will illustrate this forked plague.

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[ACT III.

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"Acteon guiltless unawares espying

Naked Diana bathing in her bowre

Was plagued with hornes; his dogs did him devoure;
Wherefore take heed, ye that are curious, prying,
With some such forked plague you be not smitten,
And in your foreheads see your faults be written."

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[Exit.

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Enter DESDEMONA and EMILIA.

If she be false, O, then Heaven mocks itself!-
I'll not believe it.

Des.
How now, my dear Othello?
Your dinner, and the generous islanders.
By you invited, do attend your presence.
Oth. I am to blame.

Des. Why is your speech so faint? Are you not well?
Oth. I have a pain upon my forehead here.

Des. 'Faith, that's with watching; 'twill away again.
Let me but bind it hard, within this hour

It will be well.

Oth.

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Your napkin1 is too little;

[He puts the handkerchief from him, and it drops. Let it alone. Come, I'll go in with you.

Des. I am very sorry that you are not well.
[Exeunt ОTH. and DEs.
Emil. I am glad I have found this napkin;
This was her first remembrance from the Moor.
My wayward husband hath a hundred times
Wooed me to steal it; but she so loves the token,
(For he conjured her she would ever keep it,)
That she reserves it evermore about her,

2

I'll have the work ta'en out,

To kiss, and talk to.
And give 't lago.
What he'll do with it, Heaven knows, not I;
I nothing, but to please his fantasy.

Enter IAGO.

Iago. How now! what do you here alone?
Emil. Do not you chide; I have a thing for you.
Iago. A thing for me?-It is a common thing-
Emil. Ha!

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1 In the north of England this term for a handkerchief is still used. 2 That is, copied. Her first thoughts are to have a copy made of it for her husband, and restore the original to Desdemona; but the sudden coming in of Iago, in a surly humor, makes her alter her resolution to please him.

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462

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Iago.

Emil. What handkerchief?

OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE.

Iago.

To have a foolish wife.

Emil. O, is that all? What will you give me now
For that same handkerchief?

What handkerchief?

so earnest To have me filch it?

Iago.

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Why, that the Moor first gave to Desdemona ;
That which so often you did bid me steal.

Iago. Hast stolen it from her?

Emil. No, 'faith; she let it drop by negligence;
And, to the advantage,1 I, being here, took't up.
Look, here it is.

[ACT III.

Iago.

A good wench; give it me.

Emil. What will you do with it, that you have been

Why, what's that to you?

Emil. If it be not for some purpose of import,
Give it me again. Poor lady! she'll run mad,
When she shall lack it.

[Snatching it.

2

Iago. Be not you known of't; I have use for it.
Go, leave me.
[Exit EMILIA.

I will in Cassio's lodging lose this napkin,
And let him find it. Trifles light as air,
Are, to the jealous, confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ. This may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison.
Dangerous conceits are, in their natures, poisons,
Which, at the first, are scarce found to distaste;
But, with a little act upon the blood,
Burn like the mines of sulphur.-I did say so;-—

Enter OTHEllo.

Look, where he comes! Not poppy, nor mandragora,3
Nor all the drowsy sirups of the world,

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1 That is, I, being opportunely here, took it up.

2 "Seem as if you knew nothing of the matter." The folio reads,

"Be not acknown on't."

3 The mandrake has a soporific quality, and the ancients used it when they wanted an opiate of the most powerful kind.

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